Can we just talk about the really good friends for a second? What are the signs of a good friend? After some research and years of experience, I'm going to share a few green flags in friendship that you can count on.
What are ‘green flags' in friendship? What does that even mean?
To begin, let's talk about what exactly green flags are in terms of friendship. Think of it as a stop light. A red light or red flag means STOP. Just as a red flashing light is a warning. Red typically signals for an individual to stop, watch, and listen.
A green flag is pretty much the opposite of that. Just like a green light means GO, a green flag is a sign to continue. It signals that you're safe, things look great, and you can feel comfortable to proceed.
How do we identify good signs in relationships?
Identifying a green flag may feel confusing for some individuals. Especially for those who have experienced relationship-based trauma or toxic relationships. Those experiences may make an individual feel as if they can't trust their relationship choices, romantic or platonic.
However, I've developed a system that works for me when choosing friends, as an adult. To begin, I look within.
These are the initial signals I follow when I share my time with someone:
Before anything else, I pay attention to how my body reacts when I'm around that particular person. You can do so by asking yourself these questions:
- Is my body tense?
- Do I have anxiety?
- Do I have an underlying feeling that something bad is going to happen?
- Am I nervous every time?
- Do I feel frustrated?
- Do I feel uneasy, guilty, or worried after I have conversations with this person?
These are all signals our body sends when something doesn't feel right. Energy is everything whether we can logically make sense of it or not. This is something much easier to follow when you trust your own intuition, which I understand isn't always the easiest.
In addition, you can follow keep these green flags in friendship in mind to help identify a good friend. Is your friend a keeper? Do they bring out the best in you?
10 Signs of a Healthy Friendship
These are of the indicators that your friendship is healthy. It's also important to identify friendship red flags, along with the green flags. If you don't see red flags – that's great! You should feel comfortable to proceed in your friendship.
These green flags for friends are in no particular order of importance. All are valuable in healthy friendships.
1. You laugh hysterically together.
There's something so special about laughing hysterically with someone. It's rare to find people who bring you that sort of endless joy. It's the belly laughs that make you hurt, cry, and speechless.
If you find a friend you can truly, fully laugh with – keep them close.
2. Conversations involve personal growth and life goals.
Another great green flag to look for in a friend is healthy conversation. If you find yourself discussing deep or difficult topics, with respect and ease – that's a great sign. Long-lasting friends will be able to discuss topics like spiritual growth, personal development, and life goals – without judgement or discomfort.
Some examples of healthy conversation topics include:
- Spirituality, beliefs, religion, core values, God, The After Life, Human Design, Astrology, etc. (these are heavy topics that should be discussed with those who respect you.)
- Career Development and Goals, Education
- Fitness, healthy living, body image
- Mental health, anxiety, stress, depression.
- Social topics, advocacy, giving back
- Healing, triggers, self-love, improvement
The whole idea is that you can discuss big, heavy topics openly without fear of disrespect, judgement, or regret.
3. No gossip.
Another important green flag in a friendship is when you don't find yourselves gossiping the entire time. Many friendships are built on gossip, where your whole relationship is build on badmouthing others. It's not cute, sis.
As mentioned above, a green flag is conversations around big life movements rather than the lives of others. It's so easy to spiral when gossiping and it never makes you feel good afterward. It's a habit, an addiction, and not a good foundation for a friendship.
Please understand the difference between venting and gossiping. One is mean-spirited, the other is a form of release.
If they gossip to you – they may gossip about you. It's not good to feel about the things you say to a friend.
4. You can show up as yourself every single time.
This is another hard-to-find type of friend, especially if you have insecurities. A good signal of a healthy friendship, is feeling as if you can show up as yourself every time. This means you can wear sweats, messy hair, and not feel embarrassed. You can be frustrated with your kids or crying about a relationship and not feel guilty. They allow you to be quirky or weird or goody without feeling judgement. Your house can be a mess, you can be cheap you can just be you.
True friends only want the real you. They love all of you and think the extra stuff is charming.
5. No judgment.
This is piggybacking off of the above. You should never feel as if your friend is judging you. When we feel judged, we automatically do one of the following: put walls up, share a false version of ourselves, judge someone back.
You should feel as if the person trusts who you are and isn't creating a new version of you in their minds. When someone truly loves you, a friend or partner, they know who you are – even if you say or do something out of character.
6. They celebrate your achievements.
Another green flag is a friend who whole-heartedly celebrates you success and achievements. They are just as excited as you are, if not more. They even celebrate the small wins – your first sale, a good review, a YES from a potential client, the first bloom of the season, 7 days in a row of working out.
Likewise, they are cheering you on as you succeed in other ways: pregnancy, engagement, promotion, raise, mention in a big news article.
It's the little things and the big things. If your friend is excited when you are – that is a major green flag!
7. They truly support you.
Not only is your friend cheering you on, they are doing what they can to help take you to the next level. They never hesitate to mention your name when they see a big opportunity. They basically have an elevator pitch just for you.
Additionally, they help promote whatever you're offering. They are buying your products, recommending your services to others, leaving great reviews, liking your business posts, tagging friends, leaving comments. Whatever they can!
“We all need friends who mention your name in a room full of opportunities.” – Unknown
8. They tell you the truth – not a ‘yes man'.
This is an important one. While it's difficult to hear not-so-good things, it's important that our friends tell us the truth. They should feel safe when telling you, “hey, you were in the wrong.” For me, I feel immediately unsettled when I realize an individual is agreeing with everything I do or say.
We need people who challenge us, tell us we were rude, explains to us how we could have reacted to a situation better, or gives us their honest opinion on basic life things.
It's important to note that your friend shouldn't be “unfiltered” or “brutally honest” with you about every little thing. I know many like to brag about these qualities, but a friend should never be insensitive when it comes to your feelings. That is not a true friend!
9. You can talk about everything and nothing all in one conversation.
Every conversation doesn't have to be heavy. That, too, is a sign of a good friend. You can have meaningless conversations and it doesn't feel fake or forced because your truly just enjoy talking to one another.
You can tell them the most basic things about your day and they are interested in hearing it.
10. They respect your boundaries.
Finally, the last green flag I'd like to mention is the importance of respect in your friendship. When you set a boundary, like, “Please wear a mask around my kids” or “Call before you show up,” your friend should respect those boundaries. They shouldn't give you attitude about this or make you feel ridiculous about your choices.
They should also respect your beliefs, such as political or religious beliefs. If you believe in something, they will not talk bad about that particular thing or dismiss your opinions.
Now, go value those healthy friendships!
I hope this post allows you to set boundaries in certain friendships, gives you permission to breakup with a friend, or reminds you to value your true friendships more. Additionally, please don't hesitate to use these green flags helped you to be a better friend to others!
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